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"Can I dig here?"Aussie solution answers the question for Kiwi contractors

Government agency Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has implemented a cloud-based solution for asset protection so it can provide a timely response to 30,000 enquiries a year from civil contractors whose activities might pose a threat to the country’s 12 million survey marks. The solution was developed by PelicanCorp, an Australian headquartered company which provides the beforeU dig service in New Zealand.

Though they are small and many are underground, the survey marks dotted across New Zealand country are the means for correctly locating everything from a residential house block to the roads in a new sub-division.

PelicanCorp CEO, Duane Rodgers explains that survey marks may seem insignificant but if any of the marks are moved or damaged, the cost of re-establishing property boundaries to guarantee land titles can run into many thousands of dollars.

“By embracing a cloud solution LINZ has been able to meet more than 10 times the number of requests it was previously getting from contractors who were planning earthworks and excavations,” he said.

The decision to embrace a cloud solution came quickly on the heels of LINZ signing on as a member of the beforeUdig service.

LINZ survey protection advisory officer Kelvin Tait explained that “the initial appeal of joining the beforeUdig web service was that it provided a one stop shop for the works agencies to find out where a site’s hidden hazards are before a digger moves in. When an agency lodged a call to locate power and gas lines, by default LINZ would be notified and therefore the contractors would be made aware of its assets.”

However, it soon became apparent with the extra number of notices LINZ began to receive and limits on its staff resources that it was no longer able to provide a timely service to its clients.

Civil contractors were lodging up to 30,000 requests each year to locate underground services for gas, water, electricity or telecommunications which might be in the same area as the critical survey marks for which LINZ is responsible.

There had to be a better way and it came in the form of a cloud based application based on PelicanCorp DigSAFEPro software.

“This gives LINZ the alternative to purchasing, deploying and managing the software on its own IT infrastructure, thereby avoiding any capital outlay,” Mr. Rodgers said.

In response to a contractor’s beforeUdig request DigSAFEPro automatically responds with digital plans showing the location of survey marks, pipes, cables and other infrastructure. It operates by integrating with core business systems like GIS, databases and document management systems and communication technologies (email, fax and SMS) to seek out this information and to respond to specific requests.

By upgrading to this hosted service LINZ can ensure every client can obtain an immediate response and to see what survey marks are in or around their work zone. Contractors are then able to identify if any of those marks were at risk from their works.

The automation of this process has dramatically improved the turnaround time for responses, from days to hours. It means LINZ only needs to respond to inquiries about earthworks that will affect its assets, rather than responding to all inquiries, as was previously the case.

Mr. Rodgers says there are two reasons the hosted service works so well for LINZ. First, it supplies near real-time data and second is the ease of using the DigSAFEPro software as a service.

LINZ staff resources have been maintained at the same level as they were prior to it becoming a partner of beforeUdig.

The beforeUdig service enables the location and protection of the essential infrastructure of public and private sector organisations including those providing telecommunications, power and water.

About Land Information New Zealand

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is the New Zealand Government department responsible for establishing and maintaining the physical infrastructure, including survey marks, of the country’s survey system. It also oversees land titles, geodetic and cadastral survey systems, topographic information, hydrographic information and the management of Crown property. For further information please visit www.linz.govt.nz

About PelicanCorp

PelicanCorp’s technology and service suite has been designed and built around the network and asset design and construction processes. Civil contractors operating in the ‘before you dig’ sector, use PelicanCorp’s services to locate and protect the essential infrastructure of public and private sector organisations including those providing telecommunications, power, water and other services. PelicanCorp operates in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Europe and Singapore. It was established in 2000 and is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. For further information please visit www.pelicancorp.com